WIAA Girls Basketball Playoffs - Rangers Win Regional Semi; Bow Out in Final
N.E.W Lutheran Deep Threats Too Much For Rangers
The Wausaukee Rangers hosted the N.E.W Lutheran Blazers Monday night for a WIAA Regional Final that saw the Blazers victorious 60-52.
In front of near max capacity crowd with coaches from around the conference in attendence the Wausaukee Rangers were the biggest show in town.
"The M&O conference is one of the best conferences I know of when it comes to loyalty," said Wausaukee Head Coach Dave Messar. "I'm proud and I thanked all the coaches at the all-conference banquet who said they were coming tonight and did."
Though the score was narrowed near the end the Rangers found themselves behind for most of the game. But a never quit attitude kept them in it till the very end. But Wausaukee fans need not worry. Next year this team will nearly all be back with the exception of standout senior Alexis Ranallo.
"I've been calling the girls the diaper dandies," said Messar. "We start two freshmen, two sophomores and a senior, that's almost unheard of in tournament play. And I told my freshmen, that team we faced tonight came in here with 85-90 ball games under their belt and we are coming in here much less. They have been in this position before, but we didn't back down and never quit. I felt we didn't lose, we just ran out of time."
It became apparent early that the Blazer's carried with themselves a live and die by the three mentality. Over the first half the Blazers as a team had amassed three long rangers which they improved upon over the second with another three triples. Those jumpers really hurt the Rangers who had troubles overcoming a nine point deficit.
Wausaukee got out to an early lead after Natalie Schroeder score off a put back for the 4-0 lead. Courtney Messar added a free throw point before N.E.W was able to post their first there pointer. The bucket was recorded by Afton Wegner.
Alexis Ranallo found her way to two consecutive scores to help proper the Rangers to a 9-4 lead but then the Blazer struck.
First Wegner hit on a long two point jumper, then Starie Pugleant hit on two free throws. Next Lydia Nelson struck in close to take the lead 10-9 for the Blazers.
Maddison Renikow tied it up at 11-11 before N.E.W's Taylor Natzke hit her first three of the game for the 14-11 lead. At this point, with a little over 11 minutes left the Rangers found themselves behind and unfortunately would never take the lead again in the match up.
Pugleant helped to build the lead further with a score off a second attempt put back. Wegner hit her second three of the match up to give the Blazer's a 21-12 lead.
Madelyn Schlies posted a layup followed by Renikow to bring the Rangers to a 23-16 deficit but then the Blazers went off as scorers were rung in by Nelson, Morgan Meerstein and Megan Steffke to give the Blazers a 31-20 lead.
Ranallo hit in the final second of the half to raise the Wausaukee total to 22.
A foul in the final second of the half sent N.E.W's Natzke to the line for three free throw attempts.
She made two of her four attempts, getting her fourth shot due to a Ranger being in wrong position at the beginning of the free throw barrage. At the half the Blazers held the lead 33-22.
Ranallo opened the half for Wausaukee with a three point play which she handle with an on target free throw shot and was followed by Kaelyn Schlies before striking again for the 36-27 deficit.
N.E.W's Meerstein was nearly unstoppable over the next few minutes as she hit on two free throws, returned to the line for two more, struck on a three pointer and went in close for a put back score, giving the Blazers a 45-29 lead.
Natzke posted her second three pointer of the game next for the Blazers and was answered by Renikow on a two point jumpsuit. Ranallo brought the Rangers to a 52-38 deficit off a breakaway score, then scored again off a put back moments later.
Just as it seemed the Rangers had found a way to close the gap the Blazer's Meerstien hit from behind the arc.
But it wasn't over yet. Bella Manske put in two free throw points, followed by Ranallo on another two charity line points. Next Madelyn Schlies struck off a break to give the Rangers a 55-46 debt.
After a timeout with just about a minute left Madelyn Schlies narrowed the lead to seven 57-50, the closest the Rangers would get.
Renikow put in the final jumper of the season for the Rangers as the time expired.
"I'm at a loss for words tonight," said Messar. "I'm just so proud of our seniors. Its just so hard to say goodbye. I have had the best crew I could possibly ask for. It's the hunger that I want my underclassman to acquire from this experience. To play harder and better and to get even further next year."
Ranallo who battled hard all game long, took top scoring honors with 20 points. She was followed by teammates Renikow with 12 and Madelyn Schlies with eight.
The Blazer's were led by Meerstien with 19 points and Wegner with 15. Natzke got 10.
"It was an honor being the last M&O team left in the tournament," said Messar. "To do it in front of one of the biggest crowds I've seen here for a girls game was just great."
Wausaukee Posts Regional Victory
The Wausaukee Rangers after getting their Friday date with the Suring Eagles canceled due to inclement weather, faced off against the Eagles Saturday afternoon for a WIAA Regional playoff match up.
After two halves the Rangers had displayed their dominance on their home court, bagging the Regional win 51-35.
"I feels really good to get the win today," said Wausaukee Head Coach Dave Messar. "I feel like we have a target on our back since we have the one seed. I feel like we might get the recognition we deserve."
Natalie Schroeder brought the Rangers to a 4-0 lead after a putback.
Kaelyn Schliss struck next and was followed by Alexis Ranallo on a free throw point for the 6-0 lead.
At the 14 minute mark of the first half Suring's Jenna Reed got her Eagles on the board 7-2.
Katie Stegeman scored off a rebound next for the Eagles.
Ranallo recorded a three point play to bring the Rangers to a 9-4 lead.
A short while later Ranallo found herself on a fast break after a steal which she brought to the hoop for the 14-7 lead.
Stegeman raised the Suring deficit to 18-10.
Madelyn Schlies stole a pass which she tossed to Ranallo for a 20-10 lead.
Ranallo ended the half's scoring with a fast break layup for the 26-14 tally.
Suring's Blake Seppel started the second half off with a three point bucket and was followed by Stegeman on a free throw point to narrow the lead to 26-18.
Madelyn Schlies tossed up a long range bucket mid way through the half bringing Wausaukee to a 33-18 lead.
Stegeman posted a three point play with just over seven minutes left to give Suring a 37-26 debt.
Courtney Messar posted the final points of the game thanks to a pass from Kaelyn Schlies for the 51-35 final verdict.
Ranallo and Stegeman shared top scoring honors with 18 points a piece for their respective teams.
"It feels great to win today," said Alexis Ranallo. "I think it is that much better because we have lost to these guys in previous years in the tournament so it feels great to get the win."
Ranallo went on to explain why her team works so well together. "We get along so well," said Ranallo. "Earlier we were just taking some time to play hide and seek around the school. We are just like a big family and we trust each other like family."
Ranallo was followed by Natalie Schroeder with 10. Courtney Messar and Kaelyn Schlies both bagged eight.
"It was a great team effort," said Messar. "Especially with Maddie being hurt, it was next man up tonight. They all stepped up. I moved some people around and we still did well. They are still growing and learning."
Jenna Reed posted nine Suring points while Blake Seppel got five.
Lady Bulldogs Fall to Xavier in Final Seconds
After earning a three-seed in the WIAA's Division 3 playoffs, Peshtigo earned a first-round bye and the right to host the winner of Xavier and Tomahawk. Last Tuesday, Xavier defeated Tomahawk easily, 64-34, earning the chance against Peshtigo Saturday afternoon. In front of an anxious crowd, the two teams battled to the bitter end.
From start to finish, it was Xavier's Karly Weycker's night to shine. The senior center was a force in the paint as she wreaked havoc on the Bulldog defenders. Peshtigo's Claire Neumann gave Peshtigo a 2-0 lead with a layup but Weycker answered back with two baskets inside. Madi Martin connected on a short jumper to knot the game again for the Bulldogs. Xavier reeled off a 5-0 scoring run to give themselves a small cushion, 9-4, but the experienced Bulldogs didn't panic. Emma Frederickson nailed a short jumper, followed by an Ashley Dudka basket and Martin's free throw that cut the lead to 12-11. The teams went back-and-forth as Xavier's Sarah Dombrowski drilled a short jumper, but Neumann answered back with a layup. Stephanie Sowin of the Hawks hit a mid-range shot before adding a free throw for a 17-13 Xavier lead. Frederickson imposed her will on the Hawk defense as she got inside for a hoop before stepping behind the arc and drilling a triple. Peshtigo's Megan Behnke joined in with a layup that gave the Bulldogs a 20-17 lead, forcing a Xavier timeout.
Whatever Xavier coach Kate Geenen said to her girls worked wonders, as her squad came out of the timeout ready to go. The Hawks went on a 15-0 run over the next five and a half minutes of game time. The run featured four of six shooting from the free throw line, the Hawks' only three-pointer of the game, and three baskets in the paint. Xavier went up 32-20 after the run with 1:55 remaining in the half. Showing no signs of panic, Peshtigo chipped away before halftime. Neumann hit a long jumper just inside the arc, Shae Tonn connected on two shots at the charity stripe before Frederickson added another. At halftime, Xavier led by a score of 32-25.
In a similar fashion to the way the Hawks came out of their timeout, the Bulldogs were amped up after halftime. Weycker scored two baskets inside, but Peshtigo's offense could not be stopped. Martin drilled a triple on the team's first possession, Neumann added two layups, Frederickson pitched in a free throw and Martin's layup cut the lead to 36-35 just three minutes into the half. The Hawks made a layup to add to their lead, but Neumann got inside for a layup, drew contact, made her free throw, and tied the game at 38-38. Martin gave Peshtigo their first lead since the 4:53 mark of the first half with a basket down low, 40-38.
Bulldog Head Coach Pete Villas said about his halftime talk, "I told them it comes down to 18 minutes and who wants it more. I knew we had it in us, we came out and did everything we could. We built that lead and we survived every little run they threw at us."
Xavier's rebuttal didn't take long as Weycker sank one of two free throws before adding a rebound-put back, regaining the lead 41-40.
Dudka began an 8-0 Bulldog run with a layup and it ended with a Tonn triple to give Peshtigo their biggest lead of the contest, 48-41 with 11:07 remaining. Weycker decided to come right back with a 6-0 run of her own, and her teammate Jaclyn Freimuth added a free throw as the Hawks tied the contest at 48-48.
The final eight minutes of the game defined what playoff basketball is all about. Tonn connected on a layup and Hannah Swanson drilled a three-pointer for a 53-48 Peshtigo lead. Weycker's basket inside trimmed the lead, but Neumann came back with a mid-range shot. Weycker again connected on a layup before adding two points from the charity line, cutting the lead to 55-54 with 5:07 left. Frederickson hit one of two free throws and later, after a one-and-a-half-minute possession, added a layup extending the lead again to four 58-54. Xavier trimmed the lead to 58-56 with a free throw each from Weycker and Bekah Vande Hey with just 55 seconds remaining in the game. The Hawks fouled Frederickson where she went one of two from the line, making the score 59-56 with 43.9 seconds left.
Xavier went down and missed a shot on their offensive possession, but senior forward Jenna Schmitt was there to secure the rebound and put back, making it a one-point game, 59-58 with 31.1 seconds remaining. The Hawks decided to go for the steal instead of fouling, but it was to no avail as the Bulldogs played keep-away until there were 9.7 seconds left. The Hawks were forced to foul, putting the Bulldogs at the line shooting a one-and-one. Peshtigo missed the first shot and Xavier secured the rebound. The Hawks dribbled the ball up to their three-point line, where they did exactly what they had hoped. They got the ball to Karly Weycker who got inside past a couple of Bulldog defenders and scored a layup with 1.1 seconds left, giving Xavier the final lead of the game. The clock hit zeros and the game was over, leaving Peshtigo fans in disbelief as Xavier entered the Dog Pound and stunned the Bulldogs, 60-59.
"Hats off to (Xavier) because they played their butts off today and they're the ones that deserve to move on right now. I am proud of the whole season. Even today, to come out in the second half and to fight until the bitter end, they've been like that all year." Coach Villas added, "Again today, down seven at halftime and, I'll say it again, this group never looks panicked, worried or scared. I've never seen it in their eyes or body expressions, they know what they have to do and they go out and do it."
Bulldog senior Claire Neumann led the team with 18 points, Madi Martin fought through foul trouble and added 14, and Emma Frederickson finished the afternoon with 13 points.
"I can second guess my call at the end moving everybody back with nine seconds left, my thought is the way they were boxing out, I didn't want anyone going over the back and fouling. But, we didn't stop them, we have five girls back on the other end to play defense and she got right to the basket for a layup," said Villas of the final possession.
Xavier was paced by Karly Weycker who led all scorers with 28 points, including 22 in the second half, along with pulling down 10 rebounds on the day. Sarah Dombrowski pitched in with seven for the Hawks.
Villas exclaimed that he is extremely proud of his squad, "Overall, I told them don't hang your heads. They could have folded up shop and we could have gotten blasted by 30 this game and they didn't. They dug in, I mean (Weycker) was a beast on the inside with her size and they played well. This sucks and it hurts, there's no doubt about it, they've worked their butts off hoping to extend the season but it just didn't happen, didn't go our way tonight."
Crivitz Knocked Off Tournament Trail By Marathon
The Crivitz Wolverine girls, after posting a first round win over the Spencer Rockets found themselves behind against a tough Marathon crew, eventually falling 63-36.
Chloe Gruszynski took top scoring honors for the Wolverines with 20 points while Talor Long posted five.
Marathon was led by Schmidt with 12 points.
Last week the Crivitz versus Spencer story had mistakes concerning the scoring. In the the story the reporter listed Sianna Guns as scoring multiple baskets, but that was incorrect. Due to an issue with the reporters running score Guns was attributed points that should have been attributed to Chloe Gruszynski.
Niagara Ousted in Second Round by Three Lakes
The sixth-seeded Niagara Badgers took to the road for the second round of the Division 5 WIAA playoffs Saturday afternoon. Their destination was Three Lakes where they took on the third-seeded Blue Jays. Three Lakes jumped out to the early lead, edging Niagara at halftime, 38-30. The Blue Jays stepped up their defense in the second half, holding the Badgers to just 14 points, leading to a victory for Three Lakes, 59-44.
Niagara's Jasmine Racine led all scorers with 18 points, Sarah Nawn added 10, Jessica Oratch pitched in with seven and Cassandra Gill finished with five. Macy Sowinski and Kloey Krusick each paced the Blue Jays with 17 points.
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